Have you ever sat back and watched your six-year-old try to brush their teeth correctly all by themselves? If you have, you know there’s definitely a wrong way to brush your teeth. You might even know a grown-up or two who doesn’t know the correct way to complete this task.
Brushing seems like such a simple thing to do, yet many don’t know that they may be doing it wrong. Some don’t brush long enough or often enough—sometimes even too often. Your toothbrush might be too abrasive or need to be replaced. Perhaps you don’t always hit all of the areas of your mouth before leaving the house in a rush. We’ve all been there. That’s why your dentist in Ashburn wants to share helpful information to make sure you’re keeping your smile healthy the proper way.
What does correct brushing accomplish?
Brushing your teeth well removes leftover food and plaque from the crevices of your smile. Lingering plaque can harden into harmful tartar and cause further dental issues. Learn how to brush your teeth the right way in order to prevent cavities, gum disease, and to maintain optimal oral health for your whole family.
What do I need to brush correctly?
According to the American Dental Association, you need just a few minutes out of your day to care for your teeth. You should be brushing for at least two minutes, twice a day. Setting a timer can be a helpful way to get the full two minutes.
A “Good” Toothbrush
Look for a toothbrush with soft bristles—either manual or electric. Your toothbrush should be one that you find easy to use and allows you to reach all of the areas in your mouth (preferably with a small brush head).Toss your toothbrush and get a new one if:
- Your current toothbrush is more than three months old.
- Your toothbrush is frayed or showing signs of too much wear.
- You’ve recently been sick (the bristles can harbor germs).
Usually, your Ashburn dentist recommends toothpaste enriched with fluoride with a seal from the ADA. If you have specific dental problems, Dr. Elosta can point you in the right direction for toothpaste that is perfect for you.
How should I be brushing my teeth?
When you begin brushing, you should place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums. Move the brush back and forth in short strokes. It’s important to be firm in your brushing, yet gentle–you don’t want to be too rough on your gums or scrub the enamel right off your teeth! Don’t forget to floss daily before or after you brush your teeth. Here are some helpful tips on how to brush properly:
- Brush the outer surfaces, the inside surfaces and the chewing surfaces of all teeth.
- Tilt the brush vertically and make up-and-down strokes to clean the inside surface of the front teeth.
- Pay extra attention to hard-to-reach teeth, fillings, crowns or other areas that are good hiding places for debris.
- Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and keep your breath fresh.
- Rinse remaining toothpaste and debris from mouth and toothbrush with tap water.
- Optionally, you can rinse your mouth with mouthwash*.
Practice the correct way to brush teeth, floss daily, and get regular checkups to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Another great tip (both for you and the people you have to talk to) is to remember that gum, mouthwash, and/or mints can never compare to the freshness of a properly brushed smile. If you have questions, contact Lansdowne Family Dental!